Hazarding a guess, I’d say there was no such thing as a normal day for Jesus’ disciples. They never knew what to expect, or if they were expecting a certain outcome for the day, they would end up confused. There was always, just waiting around the corner, another lesson to pay attention to, to interpret from Jesus’ actions and words. But if they were like me, they typically wouldn’t have anticipated anything in particular, and been taken by surprise. When the unusual did happen, they, again like me, wouldn’t have instantly gone into ‘what does this mean for me?’ mode. Nor, for that matter, into ‘what does this tell me about God’s Kingdom that I should take note of?’ mode. Hence, Jesus’ occasionally voiced frustration with them (my father-in-law might have referred to them as dull tools).

So, getting to know Jesus isn’t unlike getting to know spouses. There’s nothing quite like being married to expose one to all the quirks and unexplainable preferences of one’s marriage partner. It’s a delightful journey of discovery, except occasionally when their, um, idiosyncrasies, come into conflict with yours (I always thought it was perfectly normal to need all kitchen cabinet doors and drawers closed before sitting down to a meal).

Without quoting aloud Isaiah’s words from chapter 55, Jesus continually demonstrated their truth. Here are verses 8 and 9 from The MESSAGE: “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work. For as the sky soars above the earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” If we could fully capture the implications of these verses, giving up our habit of expecting God to get in line with us, supposing He will be flabbergasted by the brilliance of our planning and therefore give His green light, I kind of think we’d be more at peace. 

After their apprenticeship of three-and-a-half years, the disciples had earned a doctorate in Kingdom Studies. That meant that their heads were filled up with knowledge based on repeated exposures. It would ultimately take the Pentecost arrival of the Holy Spirit to shuttle that training from the anteroom of their gray matter to the inner sanctum of their hearts. 

The Prophet, Ezekiel, (36:26 MSG) records God declaring: “For here’s what I’m going to do: . . . I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed.” All disciples, of all ages, need this promised new heart. Without it, living out loud the love mission of the Father will be viewed as impractical, if not impossible. Here’s to fresh, new, submitted hearts, y’all!  PD

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